It’s a tough season to be a center in the WNBA.Foul calls are down significantly, dropping by 1.4 fouls per game from 2018. But the “big” bigs — the best fives the league has to offer — have been hit especially hard. Through 32 games, the number of free-throw attempts by Liz Cambage of the Las Vegas Aces, Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury and Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx is down 37 percent.The results have been evident. Griner, tired of taking so much uncalled contact, was involved in an altercation last month that resulted in a three-game suspension. Cambage described it, in an interview earlier this summer, this way: “I don’t really see myself playing into my 30s because I don’t want to go to war.” Cambage is still having an elite season, but her overall production is down from last year — her field-goal percentage has fallen from 58.9 to 49.3 percent while her true shooting percentage has dropped from 64.3 to 55.2 percent.But Fowles, through a combination of inter- and intraseason adaptations, has kept her production remarkably consistent. Her career field-goal percentage is 59.3 percent. This season, her field-goal percentage is … 59.1 percent.Another year, same Syl. At age 33, Fowles is this generation’s greatest center, trailing only Lauren Jackson among centers in career Win Shares, but she doesn’t get enough appreciation, to hear her coach and teammates tell it.“Syl reminds me of myself, like no one recognizes her greatness,” said Fowles’s current Lynx and former LSU teammate Seimone Augustus. “But she continues to just get better, year after year. I mean, at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done and she retires, I think people are going to look back and go, ‘Wow.’”By the catch-all stat Win Shares, Fowles has quietly amassed more value than anyone else in the WNBA over the past three seasons. Elena Delle Donne, Griner and Cambage may get more headlines, but only Fowles has more than 20 win shares since the start of the 2017 season. No one else has cracked 19.But while the statistics — at least the topline numbers — would indicate that Fowles is simply the same great center she’s been since her rookie season in Chicago back in 2008, a closer look at how she’s been scoring her points in 2019 reveals the change she made to enhance her game.Fowles is 19-for-34 on shots 15 to 19 feet away from the basket, a 55.9 percent clip that ranks her among this season’s elite midrange shooters. For reference, Fowles was 2-for-6 from that distance in 2018.That didn’t happen by accident. Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve told Fowles in their exit meeting at the end of 2018 that she wanted her to diversify her game, and Fowles worked with Lynx assistant Walt Hopkins all offseason. The daily routine was punishing: Fowles would shoot at the rim, in the paint, from the free-throw and three-point lines, and couldn’t advance to the next spot until she made five in a row, all swishes.Her success this season from all over the court has actually helped Fowles focus on her original strength — that endless array of post moves — and not settle for the jumpers she’s now sinking routinely.“I have to make sure it doesn’t take away what I do best,” Fowles said. “I have to make sure I don’t get too relaxed and shoot jumpers. When I’m open, I shoot. But when I’m not, it’s making sure I do what I used to do, and that’s going to the rim.”But even Fowles acknowledged a frustration with how much harder it has been to earn foul-line trips through contact. Fowles has gotten more than four free-throw attempts in a game just six times all season. In 2018, she shot more than four free throw attempts in 17 of 34 games.I asked Sue Blauch, the WNBA’s head of referee performance and development, about the reduction in both free-throw attempts originating out of the paint and player frustration with it. She acknowledged the decrease in offensive efficiency in the league this season and said “everyone should dig deep and explore” what might be the cause. “We certainly looked at our play-calling data and have addressed any contribution that officiating may have had,” she said.Refs across the WNBA did seem to take note of recent league office guidance. Before July’s All-Star break, the average number of fouls per game was 33.2. Since then, fouls are up to 37.3 per game — an increase of 12.3 percent. That shift toward more fouls in the paint required another adjustment for Fowles, who was sent to the bench early in several games with foul trouble herself.“Now everything’s a foul fest, the last couple of games it’s a foul fest, we have to adjust to that,” Reeve said after a Minnesota win in New York on Aug. 13. “All of a sudden there’s an about-face about how it’s being officiated. And so I told Syl, I said, ‘No complaints now. You know, you gotta get yourself to the foul line.’ Some of it is being patient and not racing through the move, give a defender a chance to foul you, type of thing. So I think she’s got to be a little more poised in the post.”It isn’t easy. Fowles said she huddled with Cambage and Griner during All-Star weekend in Las Vegas about how to handle all the physical abuse. She laughed when asked if she meditates.“Oh, yes,” Fowles said. “I meditate. I talk to therapists. It gets frustrating.” But she doesn’t want to talk about it with her teammates and coaches, to “put out that negative energy.” Instead, she just continues to be Sylvia Fowles.In the three games after that Aug. 13 win, she shot 63.6 percent. She took only one shot from the 15-to-19-foot range. And in her past four games, she’s shot 59.5 percent, going 4-of-7 when 15 to 19 feet from the basket.The rules change, the teams change, the players change. But Sylvia Fowles keeps on doing what she does.
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Credit union boards are a litmus test for good credit unions. If we can strengthen boards, we can expect credit unions to be stronger organizations that are more effective at serving their members.Why do I say this? Because good boards reflect their credit unions’ missions and members. Because boards’ agendas are their members’ agendas. And, because boards play a key role in attracting and retaining CEO talent, another key factor in credit unions’ success.Because boards are the glue that holds the movement together, I get really excited when they do things to better their leadership capabilities.For example, at last year’s CUES Director Development Seminar, I talked with a board member who had previously attended the program and learned a lot from speaker Les Wallace, Ph.D., president of Signature Resources and a big advocate of board assessments, such as CUES’ Self-Assessment for Credit Union Boards.Wallace emphasized that assessments could help a board establish where it is and what it can do to improve its governance culture and capabilities. The director’s chairman was staunchly against doing an assessment, but the director persevered. Now, he and his volunteer colleagues have done two assessments, with great results. (Notably, Wallace is again leading CUES Director Development Seminar , Sept. 16-18 in Savannah, Ga.)That same director and the other members of his board also are regularly using CUES’ Center for Credit Union Board Excellence, which includes a website of articles and videos for ongoing board development (as well as the assessment portion of Self-Assessment for Credit Union Boards). CCUBE was launched five years ago this month, after I heard Rick Powers, lead faculty for CUES Governance Leadership Institute (June 14-17 at the University of Toronto) talk about a Canadian board development program, the Institute for Corporate Directors.Modeled after ICD’s offering, CCUBE membership became available in 2010, shortly before NCUA delivered rule 701.4, requiring directors to have a foundational knowledge of credit union finance.The CCUBE website offers boards a wealth of resources about finance, governance, strategy and—importantly— CEO relations. To ensure the future success of credit unions, boards need to do a great job hiring, retaining and managing CEO talent.A recent addition to CCUBE—“Evolution of a CEO Evaluation”—describes the way the board of $1.7 billion University Federal Credit Union, Austin, Texas, bettered its CEO evaluation process over time. (Not yet a member of CCUBE? You can sign up for a 30-day free trial by emailing [email protected])Interestingly, CCUBE originally got underway because of a dream we had that we needed something like this to help further the development of credit union boards and, in turn, strengthen the movement. We have another dream now … that directors will actively boost their engagement in the near term. CUES stands ready to help; check out all the possibilities coming up yet this year at this one-stop CUES shop for directors. 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Dawn Poker Dawn joined cues in 2007. Dawn has served as VP of Conferences and Executive Education, SVP/CLO and in 2010 she became the SVP/Chief Member Relations Officer. Prior to … Web: www.CUES.org Details
VALENCIA – David Ewart is living “It’s A Wonderful Life.” The musician whose violin knows no bounds – gracing the stages of the Hollywood Bowl and the Los Angeles Philharmonic as well as Wiley Canyon Elementary School and the jungles of Peru – might not know right now how many lives have been changed by his goodness. But that goodness is being returned to him threefold after his own life changed dramatically Dec. 20. Early that morning, Ewart’s Valencia home burned to the ground, sparked by candles left burning after a Christmas party the night before. Ewart, his parents Esther, 77, and Hugh, 81, and his children Michael, 15, Jonathan, 13, and Heather, 11, escaped through a second-story window at the rear of the house. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Since Dec. 21, a network of people estimated at 10,000 strong has emerged around the world, sending prayers, good wishes and donations of both goods and finances to help the family recover. Requests for clothing and gifts were fulfilled within 24 hours. Grocery gift cards arrived in the mail every day. A national home improvement show is considering replacing the gutted home. And musicians have filled violin cases with money to help with medical bills that could exceed $5 million. “It’s phenomenal the calls and letters that come in,” Block said. Collections have been taken up at exercise clubs, theaters, baseball fields and service club meetings. Students at Hart High School collected more than $8,400 in a one-day drive. The YMCA passed the hat to the tune of $1,500. A network of families willing to provide meals has been set up and one volunteer is in charge of coordinating visitors for the burn victims once they come home. A request for furniture to replace that lost by the family was filled within two days: Couches, beds, desks, tables and chairs were offered before there was a chance to find a space to put them. Ewart’s fellow musicians, the staff at Buena Vista Home Entertainment and the Environment of People Foundation – where he serves as a board member – have researched the hundreds of projects on which he worked, replacing music scores and replenishing his library. “The minute I heard what happened, I called in sick to work and raced to the hospital, but of course, I wasn’t able to see them,” Crawford said of the family. “Right away, we started collecting Christmas gifts and clothing for the family, giving people rides to the airport and feeding two households.” Michael suffered second- and third-degree burns on nearly half his body; David was burned severely over 31 percent of his body, including his back, chest and shoulders; Hugh, released from the hospital Dec. 31, was burned on his face. Those who know David were thrilled to learn that the magical hands that bring his violin to life are fine. He is almost well enough to transfer out of the intensive care unit and the family’s Web site – www.geocities.com/[email protected]obal.net – notes he’s already reminding visitors to make sure the kids’ school projects get finished. “People rallied around David because he was a driving force in the community,” said Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s Deputy Gerri McCorkle, who ran the local sheriff’s holiday toy drive and sent the resident Santa Claus to see the Ewarts’ kids on Christmas Eve. “He had parties for his neighborhood and was active in sports; he was a very public person,” McCorkle said. Block struck up a friendship with the Ewarts’ pastor from the Newhall Church of the Nazarene. The Rev. Greg Garman visited the burn victims and provided information to keep loved ones across the community informed. As Block started her daily bulletins, her e-mail list grew from a few to a few hundred, then thousands when it was linked to musician unions, alumni organizations and church prayer chains. And the makeshift support group has thought of everything, including coordinating friends and strangers to replace the family’s photo collections. Scrapbook enthusiasts have come together to put together pages of the Ewarts’ past, asking neighbors and friends from the children’s soccer and baseball teams to comb their photo archives for pictures that might include the Ewarts. Those without pictures to contribute have created themed pages for holidays, sports and performing arts, as well as other family events. “I’ve been saving things I think David will need,” Crawford said. Her personal project is a “While You Were Sleeping” scrapbook to include things that happened in the community – from the groundswell of support to day-to-day activities – that Ewart missed while he was in the hospital. Carol Rock, (661) 257-5252 [email protected] AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita Esther, Jonathan and Heather suffered minor injuries – but Hugh, Michael and David suffered severe burns. David, 48, remains hospitalized, but doctors say he’s making good progress. Michael was due to come home Saturday, riding in a limousine courtesy of an enormous network of strangers who have come forward to help this family that has given – and, now, lost – so much. “The morning of the fire, I walked over there and it struck me that here was a family who went to bed the night before like everybody else, but when the morning came, their lives were changed forever,” said Josy Block, whose home office has since become a clearinghouse for information, donations and items to help the Ewarts start over. David Ewart’s days were always filled with activities that centered around his family and friends, as well as his world-renowned music. His typical day might end with a concert at the Hollywood Bowl but would be preceded by a batting-cage session, a PTA function and a lunch date to help a friend. “We were always in awe of him. That’s why we feel compelled to help him now,” said Michele Crawford, a close friend of David. “He would have a thousand things to do, but he’d always make you feel like you were the most important.”